Missing a tooth? Here is why it could be a bigger problem than you think
November 25, 2017 | 7:40 PM
by Dr Siju George
A gap from a missing tooth can make the other teeth next to it move or drift into the space.

Our pearly whites play a crucial role in our overall well-being, however, there can be times when your dentist might recommend a tooth extraction. There can be multiple reasons for your dentist to recommend a tooth extraction - removal due to a severe accidental trauma, decay or over-crowding. This usually happens when your tooth cannot be treated, and extraction might be like an easier option. Extraction of the four molars due to lack of space usually is the common issue most adults face, and that is when retaining our remaining 28 becomes all the more important.

Consequences of missing teeth among adults

It is a known fact that missing a tooth or two could make you feel self-conscious and embarrassed but more importantly if the missing tooth is not replaced immediately, there can be an increased risk of losing remaining teeth. A gap from a missing tooth can make the other teeth next to it move or drift into the space.

This results in teeth being out of their normal place, which can make them tougher to clean and leaving more room for risk due to decay and gum disease. It is equally important in case of missing back teeth, patients do not really understand the value of lost tooth and the ways in which it could change the way you bite or chew your food forever. One would require extra strength on the front teeth, which means increased probability to moving or cracking and chipping front teeth.

Solutions to the problem: The good news is that with the advancements in the field of modern dentistry, there are now multiple ways to support the loss of a tooth or multiple teeth. Crown, implants, bridges and dentures can help adults fix the gaps in the teeth aesthetically, drastically improving the way your smile looks and the way one can eat, talk, and smile every day.

Problems of missing teeth among kids

Premature tooth loss is a potential threat that almost every child faces. It is possible for milk tooth to fall out before time and it often could be a result of a traumatic injury or severe tooth decay. In such cases, using pulpotomy to try saving the root is crucial and conserving the tooth structure is necessary. Most doctors and parents find this as an easier step to save time and the pain. However, early tooth loss has its own repercussions, it can cause the other teeth to drift in to close the space and the space that was originally meant for the permanent tooth is lost. With this loss of space in the dental arch can subsequently cause over-crowding of teeth, disrupting the harmony between the molars and the canines and forcing the need of correcting this with braces.

Solutions to the problem: If in an extreme situation your child requires an extraction, then one must request for a spacer/space maintainer. This tiny device is kept replacing the gap created due to the falling of milk tooth prematurely. By preserving this gap with a spacer for the permanent tooth your dentist can prevent future crowding problems.

As a thumb rule, if your child loses any teeth before the age of four, then please arrange to visit an orthodontist immediately to consult and determine to help eliminate the possibilities developing any future dental problems.

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Dr Siju George is Specialist Orthodontist at Wassan Specialty Dental Centre.


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